REPRESENTING THE THIRD DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
COMMITTED TO CREATING JOBS, DRIVING DOWN SPENDING AND SHRINKING THE SIZE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

MISSISSIPPI VETERANS DESERVE MORE

Dec 16, 2015 Issues: Veterans

 

MISSISSIPPI VETERANS DESERVE MORE
MISSISSIPPI’S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION UNITES IN STRONG OPPOSITION TO THE APPOINTMENT OF SKYE MCDOUGALL TO TOP REGIONAL VETERANS’ AFFAIRS POST

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Gregg Harper, R-Miss., Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., Trent Kelly, R-Miss., along with U.S. Senators Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., yesterday issued a letter to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert A. McDonald vehemently opposing the appointment of Dr. Skye McDougall to be the Network Director for the South Central Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care Network.

In Mississippi, McDougall would be responsible for the network’s headquarters in Ridgeland, the G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson, the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System in Biloxi, and the Jackson Regional Benefits Office.  The Mississippi delegation urged the secretary to rescind the appointment and replace the candidate with someone more qualified. They cited McDougall’s testimony to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, in which she misled members of Congress about the extent of wait times for veterans to receive care in Southern California and the VA’s recent efforts to place her in other parts of the country.

The letter reads in part: “It is well documented that on March 13, 2015, Dr. McDougall misled Members of the United States House of Representatives when she testified to the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs that wait times for veterans to receive care at VA facilities that she oversaw in Southern California averaged only four days. In actuality, the wait times were at least ten times longer. In view of her deplorable record in the VA system and her questionable testimony to Congress, Dr. McDougall has proven to be, at the very least, untrustworthy as it relates to the vitally important task of providing for the health care needs of our veterans.

 

It seems that the Department of Veterans affairs has been ‘hopscotching’ Dr. McDougall around the country - from Southern California to New Mexico and from Arizona to Mississippi - searching for a soft landing for her. We are determined to see to it that her soft landing is not in Mississippi.

 

The letter concludes: “Given Dr. McDougall's track record and the VA's ongoing effort to earn back the trust of veterans in Mississippi and across the country, we strongly urge you to rescind this se lection and, instead, appoint a senior leader who will work to provide the best possible service for our veterans.

FULL TEXT OF LETTER

 

December 15, 2015

 

 

The Honorable Robert A. McDonald

Secretary

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

810 Vermont Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20420

 

            Re: Mississippi Congressional Delegation Opposition to the Appointment of Dr. Skye McDougall

 

Dear Secretary McDonald:

 

We, the undersigned members of the Mississippi congressional delegation, write to express our disappointment in the selection of Dr. Skye McDougall to be the Network Director for the South Central Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care Network.  In Mississippi, Dr. McDougall would be responsible for the network’s headquarters in Ridgeland, the G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson, the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System in Biloxi, and the Jackson Regional Benefits Office.

 

It is well documented that on March 13, 2015, Dr. McDougall misled Members of the United States House of Representatives when she testified to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs that wait times for veterans to receive care at VA facilities that she oversaw in Southern California averaged only four days.  In actuality, the wait times were at least ten times longer.   In view of her deplorable record in the VA system and her questionable testimony to Congress, Dr. McDougall has proven to be, at the very least, untrustworthy as it relates to the vitally important task of providing for the health care needs of our veterans.

 

It seems that the Department of Veterans affairs has been “hopscotching” Dr. McDougall around the country – from Southern California to New Mexico and from Arizona to Mississippi – searching for a soft landing for her.  We are determined to see to it that her soft landing is not in Mississippi.

 

Mississippi veterans deserve more.  In recent years, Mississippi veterans have suffered due to mismanagement in the VA system including, but not limited to, understaffing of essential care stations, problems in meeting established health care standards, and prevalent medical errors leading to serious harm to our veterans and, in some cases, death.  The VA system in Mississippi is making progress in addressing recent problems but we believe the appointment of Dr. McDougall would only impede this progress and exacerbate existing issues. 

 

Given Dr. McDougall’s track record and the VA’s ongoing effort to earn back the trust of veterans in Mississippi and across the country, we strongly urge you to rescind this selection and, instead, appoint a senior leader who will work to provide the best possible service for our veterans.

 

We thank you in advance for your full consideration of our request.

 

 

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